Exclusive: Blix Backed Bush on WMD

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    Documents Show That U.N. Inspector Believed Saddam Was Hiding Secret Weapons

    UNITED NATIONS – U.N. chief Iraq arms inspector Dr. Hans Blix believed that Baghdad may have been hiding as much as 10,000 liters of deadly anthrax before the U.S.- and British-led coalition invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

    According to experts, if properly weaponized, that amount of anthrax could neutralize a city the size of New York.

    The admission by Blix was found in a private report sent to the UNMOVIC (U.N. Monitoring, Observation and Verification Commission) College of Commissioners just weeks before the invasion. The college is the U.N. body's executive board.

    In his report Blix said that he had a "strong suspicion" that Iraq "is hiding" as much as 10,000 liters of the exotic poison.

    The private proclamation went further than Blix's public statements where he insisted that weapons Baghdad could not account for was not proof they existed and were hidden.

    A senior official at the French foreign ministry in Paris told NewsMax that he was aware of the assertion by Blix and believed it was made "under pressure from Washington."

    On Thursday, CIA Director George Tenet told an audience at Georgetown University that his agency's assessment on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was shared by numerous intelligence agencies other than the CIA.

    Blix's report would seem to corroborate the Tenet claim.

    Former U.N. chief arms inspector Rolf Ekeus had explained that anthrax is one form of WMD that is easily hidden and stored.

    "In a spore form you can hide it in a cool cellar and perhaps keep it for as long as 15 years," Ekeus proclaimed.

    Ekeus went on to explain that in such a form, anthrax is fairly safe and would be difficult for arms inspectors to track down.

    "You can store it in a person's home. How can we search every home in Iraq?" Ekeus once asked.

    In his speech, Tenet took exception with the claim made by the United States' recently departed Iraq arms hunter David Kay that the Iraq Survey Group, which has not found WMD, had completed "85 percent" of its work.

    Tenet told the Georgetown audience that the Iraq group "has nowhere even close to completing 85 percent of its work."

    Kay's successor, former deputy chief U.N. Iraq arms inspector Charles Duelfer, is expected to take up his new duties in Baghdad this week.

    Based on statements by Blix and his predecessor Rolf Ekeus, Tenet's claims may be accurate, in a strict technical sense.

    Questioned by NewsMax, Blix explained from his home in Stockholm, Sweden:

    "We [the U.N.] had strong suspicions that some anthrax was still hidden, but we did not find the evidence to assert its existence."

    The U.N. and the International Atomic Energy Agency (the U.N.'s atomic watchdog) resumed Iraq inspections in December 2003 after a four-year hiatus.

    Despite three months of intensive searches, no evidence of exotic weapons surfaced, other than the existence of modified al-Samoud missiles.

    The al-Samoud's were found to have violated U.N. sanctions and were being destroyed by Iraq (under U.N. supervision) leading up to the coalition's invasion.

    Blix pointed out that all U.N. inspections and arms control operations ceased when the coalition invaded Iraq.

    Since then, intelligence from Washington and London to the U.N. has virtually ceased.

    Blix retired from his post in July 2003 convinced that the U.N. would not be permitted to resume its inspections under a Security Council mandate.

    The future of UNMOVIC has remained in limbo since Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    The United States' U.N. ambassador, John Negroponte, told reporters that the future of UNMOVIC "will be revisited at a future date." The ambassador refused to give a time table for the "revisit."

    Blix is expected to tell his side of the search for Iraq's secret weapons in a book due to be released next month.

    http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/2/9/115035.shtml
     

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